What's really - REALLY needed?

I am thinking about the many many software products out there on the software market to work with business process modelling , capturing, describing and documenting it. I know this is something partners spend a fair bit of time on during an ERP implementation and personally I would wat a tool to help me out with this.

I know that most of our partners do use some kind of tool or best practice when they go out to customers, to talk to them about their business, and try map these to the features of our products. Whether it is just drawing it up on a white board, or using elaborate commercial software to describe business processes. I'm wondering what partners and customers in the ERP mid-market really would like to have.

Personally I tend to think that an effective tool for a partner during an ERP implementation has to have a few characteristics, 

  • An fairly simple "editor" (although probably being a rich client), which partners (and customers eventually) can use to restructure pre-defined process models.
  • The editor should be able to manage
    • Roles + attributes and their relationships
    • Activities in a hierarchical structure (aka the MIcrosoft Business Solutions Workmodel) + attributes
    • Search facilities
    • Process diagrams depicting
      • Swimlane diagrams for flows across departments
      • Activity diagrams for individual roles
    • Textual process descriptions
    • Security settings based on roles
  • A simple thin client UI. This would allow partners initially to host the models and the customers to log in browsing the models. Later it would mean easy access for all users at the customer.
  • An underlying SQL database model. It could initially be fairly simple - not trying to capture all metadata from the models. Or it could be more ambitious storing all of the metadata captured in the process diagrams.
  • A way for partners to download and upload models (even verticals) for sharing

In reality I guess there are two extremes in doing this - on the one hand using no tool at all, just drawing up diagrams on a whiteboard (or somewhat better, manually drawing them in Visio). On the other hand using an advanced software package to capture and define the models (think IDS Scheer). Getting the right answer to what to opt for of course makes you consider a lot of things, such as - usability, cost (license, training etc.), simplicity and feature richness.

I am sure that there are many answers (perhaps even a right one) - and I am plannig spending the upcoming holidays thinking more about this. If there are others out there with a viewpoint, let me get your comments.

Happy holidays